We all know that life is full of ups and downs. Although the ‘down’ periods are never fun, they are always balanced out by good times eventually. Yin and yang. How easy we find maintaining self care routines ebbs and flows too. I have definitely noticed a relationship with what’s going on in our lives and how well we look after ourselves.
The Self Care Rollercoaster
Does this scenario below look familiar?
Everything is going smoothly in life. We don’t feel the need to take care of ourselves as much because there are less external stressors going on. Self care game slips…
Some event or stressor occurs which negatively affects us. Rather than going back to the good forms of self care which would pull us out of our stress, we rely instead on our old habits. Self-care falls to the wayside; habits that keep us stuck in our historic comfort zones kick in. These hold us down, keeping us from moving forwards, and can include:
- Drinking too much
- Staying up too late
- Not sleeping/resting enough
- Not exercising enough
- Working long hours, or not working at all
- Distancing ourselves from friends
Even though these old habits can soothe our emotions and help us keep going in the short term, they aren’t conducive to our future goals or our long term health and happiness.
The … Worst
We hit a form of rock bottom. Of course, this looks different for everybody and every situation, and it doesn’t even have to be dramatic or severe. Instead, I see it as the point of recognition that things aren’t great. We become aware of our bad habits, our negative behaviour and actions and that we’re running on empty. Essentially we get a reality check!
It’s not all bad. This is also the time that we recognise that we need to take care of ourselves. We start identifying the bad habit cycle that we’ve been in, and how we haven’t done many positive actions for ourselves lately. Self-care regime kicks in full force, and we start clawing our way back up by living better. Maybe we:
- Join the gym
- Clean up our diet
- Dramatically reduce late nights and drinking
- Catch up with good friends
- Meditation and green smoothies
- Taking more time out to rest
- Improve things at work
Things level out; we feel ok again. Life gets back to normal. Our self care game starts to slip….
And round we go again! Rinse and repeat
Finding a natural balance
We CAN engrain self care rituals into our life, making them a non-negotiable element of our daily routine (like brushing your teeth!). This helps us to navigate these ups and downs of life with ease. Over time, this will minimise the severity of the bad times, so we can spend more time feeling good.
Find positive triggers
We can set a reminder on our phone, or even have a positive trigger/cue. If we create this reminder it is much more likely to become a longterm habit.
For example: you decide to meditate every morning. Get specific.
Maybe you want to meditate every day at 7am. Set an alarm.
Say you want to meditate after you’ve had a shower. Let the shower be your reminder – a cue to meditate straight afterwards.
For example: you want to exercise more and feel better in your own skin. What do you want to do? Decide which movement practices appeal to you the most. Then, again, get specific.
Perhaps you could create this new habit via location – every time you walk in a particular room, do 10 push ups.
Maybe you want to start meeting people who also love your form of exercise. Join some classes, meet ups, or groups on the subject. As Jim Rohn says, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Surround yourself with positive people who share your passions.
Don’t be all or nothing
Diets don’t work long term, because restriction ultimately leads to binging. The same can be applied to everything in life! Although the ‘all or nothing’ mentality is attractive, it is not sustainable.
Want to move your body? Go for it, but make sure you have rest days.
Want to meditate? Great, but don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day here and there.
You get the idea.
We can find a natural balance by listening to ourselves. It’s ok to rest more some days than others. Pay attention to your intuition, and trust that it knows best.
It’s fantastic to be passionate about your self care rituals. Keep them as an important element of your life. That said, don’t let them become an overarching chore. Find a way to stay inspired by these practices and let them become a form of creative expression.
What self care rituals work the best for you? How do you keep them an integral part of your daily routine? Let me know in the comments below.
Want to learn more from me? I’m taking my coaching online, so I would love to hear from you even if you don’t live in Edinburgh. Self care and balance are fundamental concepts in my coaching programs.
Get in touch if you would like to learn more!